Of Freaks and Men

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St Petersburg in the first years of the century and an illicit operation specialising in spanking photos swiftly graduates to moving pictures of the same activities. Gradually, the families of a doctor and a railway engineer find their destinies intertwined with that of Johann, the sinister porn merchant, though the enigmatic plotting seems to matter less than the film's parade of eccentricities. There are Siamese twins who play the accordion and sing to huge music hall crowds, repeated shots of vintage locomotives and identical tartan suitcases carried by practically everyone in the city. Although deeply puzzling, Balabanov's film certainly creates its own unique world, and makes the valid point that audiences merely want to see the same thing all the time. In this case, bare bottoms.

By: TJ

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